Gas fireplaces are an example of human evolution. Traditionally, human civilizations made a fireplace by chopping off wood and lighting it. These have now evolved into modern gas fireplaces. They provide the traditional experience, but without the tedious job of chopping wood and building a fire yourself.
But with risky inventions like these come some safety protocols that you must follow for protection.
For example, these gas fireplaces come with a vent that exhausts fumes to the outside environment. This helps ensure a safe environment inside the home by allowing harmful gasses like carbon monoxide to escape and curbs the risk of the harmful gas building up in your home, which could otherwise lead to health problems.
Another safety mechanism that fireplaces come with is the shut-off valve. And this article will help you determine whether your gas fireplace valve should be on or off.
The answer depends on the environment you are in and the natural weather at your place of accommodation. The pilot should be turned off when it is hot outside, as this will avoid the gas being wasted, conserve both energy and natural resources being used, and economize the costs that you pay for that fuel.
A gas fireplace comes with a safety valve to protect the fireplace and provide you a hazard-free experience. When it is hot outside, and the fireplace valve is on, the pilot will generate no heat. Your fireplace will then not be warm to the touch.
However, keeping the valve on will lead to a white-like substance spreading over the door of your fireplace. This white substance is sulfur. A trace amount gets collected as residue when you leave the gas valve on for too long. That’s why keeping the gas valve off is a more sensible thing to do when the weather is warm enough.
On the contrary, keeping the valve off for a longer time will lead to trace gas molecules from the burner accumulating inside the fireplace. This is a nuisance because gas companies add a chemical called Mercaptan to natural gas to give it its distinctive odor. This smell attracts spiders, and they will build webs inside your fireplace, blocking tubes and increasing your maintenance costs.
Do Gas Fireplaces need a Shut-Off Valve?
Gas fireplaces do need a shut-off valve. This valve acts as the indication to the burner as to whether it should keep the pilot running. Apart from providing the users with an added safety precaution, a shut-off valve will also give users more mobility towards their fireplaces.
Some gas fireplaces have an automatic shut-off valve. The function it serves is that it senses if the gas produced by the burner is too much or if there is an inadequate supply of oxygen.
If any of these is affirmative, the shut-off valve automatically turns off the burner, and you are therefore protected from any hazards those problems may impose.
Natural Gas Shut-Off Valve Types
Numerous shut-off valve types are being used in the industry. Some of them are listed below:
- Control Valves: This valve controls the flow, pressure, and temperature of the burner. This is used widely because it has an automatic operation: it sends an electric signal to the controller through hydraulic pneumatics.
- Ball Valves: These are equipped with a tight seal with low torque and can easily be located and moved on or off in high-pressure situations. This is not automatic and thus is becoming obsolete now.
- Check Valves: These prevent reverse flow from the pipes. Mostly, they are used coupled with some other valve systems.
- Globe Valves: These are the most widely used valve systems in fireplaces, the reason being that these are very easy to install due to their easily machined seat systems. They have a tight shut-off ability and have a simple linear motion which allows easier access when turning the valve on or off.
These are the most abundantly used and produced types of valve systems in the industry. In addition, many fireplaces use a combination of Globe valves along with Check valves as their primary shut-off valve systems.
Where is the Shut-off Valve for a Gas place?
As the shut-off valve is a basic feature and a vital precautionary measure, it is located just behind the control panel. The control panel is just behind the front screen or the menu screen, where you adjust the temperature.
There is a knob located for this gas valve – this can be turned to ‘off’ or ‘on’ as per requirement. Remember that although the shut-off valve is there for your safety, you should tread lightly near it, and every precaution must be taken before proceeding to turn the valve on or off.
If you want to shut off the natural gas coming to the connected fireplace, you will need to find the gas line installed in your house.
How to tell if a gas valve is on or off?
There is a handle located parallel to the installed gas line in your house. There is also a long side to this handle. If this elongated side of the handle is parallel to the gas line, it will mean that the gas valve is on and the gas is flowing.
If you turn the handle and make it perpendicular to the installed gas line pipe, the gas valve will be closed, and the gas will be shut off. This valve is a shut-off valve system connecting the natural gas supply to fireplaces.
How to Turn off a Gas Fireplace Valve?
You can turn off the gas fireplace valve by locating the control panel first. Inside the control panel, there is a safety valve that you can open to gain access. Next, you will find a knob. Try to turn the knob to the off position for at least 5 minutes.
Most fireplaces also come with a shut-off valve, and you can locate it by following the procedure already mentioned above. After locating it, you need to twist the handle until it’s perpendicular to the gas line to turn it off.
These were some of the basic steps or operations for using a gas fireplace valve. However, it is recommended to be extra careful while handling gas fireplaces. If you do not understand something yourself and if something seems off, it is advised to get a technician to fix the issue.
With the introduction of shut-off valve systems and automatic sensors, it has become very easy to own and build a gas fireplace curated for your home. At the same time, it has become a very safe alternative to thermostat heating systems.
Having a gas fireplace is also worthwhile because it is lighter on your wallet than a thermostat heating system keeping the house warm. But needless to say, there are, as with every other appliance, some safety precautions that must be taken care of while operating a gas fireplace.
Make sure you choose your valve systems and vent systems wisely and avoid the overhead of costly maintenance and frivolous hassle.